A league source told CSNNE.com on Monday that Rivers’ decision on whether he will return will not be based solely on whether Paul Pierce and/or Kevin Garnett are back in next season. Rivers’ hesitation to verbally commit to next season has more to do with his uncertainty as to what type of team Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, will give him to coach.
“No coach wants to go through a full-blown rebuilding process,” said the source. “Doc’s already done that, so he knows how tough that is for all involved. But to be asked to go through it twice? Any coach would pause for a minute before signing on to that.”
Remember how Boston struggled in 2006 and 2007, to the point plenty of Celtics fans were calling for Rivers’ head. But you can’t win in the NBA without talent no matter how good a coach you are and once Rivers got talent the Celtics were a real threat.
The question for Boston is whether to start the rebuilding this summer or next. The temptation may be to say the sooner the better, but with a weak free agent class and draft, are you really going to get much of a jump starting now? Or are you better off bringing everyone back and being a very dangerous and interesting six seed next season, then rebuilding.
I’d lean toward the latter. But it’s not my call. It’s all up to Danny Ainge.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
Buddy Hield: Vivek Ranadive told me at Kings-Pelicans games, ‘We’re still going to get you’